Austin Startup: Heyride Wins Startup Texas Competition

Heyride, Austin startup,Startup Texas, Startup America, StartupStartups pitching at stadiums seems to be a really cool thing this year. Startups in Indianapolis pitched at Lucas Oil Field during the PowderKeg startup event earlier this fall. The graduating class at the Brandery in Cincinnati pitched at the Great American Ball Park where the Cincinnati Reds play, for investor day. Last week Startup Texas hosted a statewide competition at Cowboy Stadium.

The pitch contest, which pitted startups across the entire state of Texas, gave startups the chance to pitch in front of Startup Texas, Startup America and influential entrepreneurial leaders like Steve Case (Founder of AOL), Scott Case (Founding CTO at Priceline) and Carl Sparks (CEO at Travelocity). The winning team won a consultation with one of the three iconic leaders, facilitated by the Startup America Partnership.

Austin startup Heyride was the overall winner in the competition. Heyride is a peer to peer ride sharing app, which is a hot space right now.  Users are able to find on demand rides from drivers based on competing offers. The app gives the user the option of riding or driving and it’s peer to peer, so presumably less expensive than Uber or Taxi Magic.

Ridesharing is huge overseas and there are several startups popping up across the country like Greenville SC startup RidePost which completed the Iron Yard accelerator program back in August.

Heyride has prepared itself for the hurdles they could face operating a ride sharing startup and dealing with the public at larges. It was recently reported that private car hailing startup Uber, had a Washington DC based driver accused or Rape, last week.

Heyride offers three types of driver verification including social drivers, community verified drivers and background verified drivers. In a driver’s profile, the level of verification that they’ve completed can be found in an icon next to their name, giving riders a better piece of mind.

Of course drivers are also star rated so that the more successful rides they give the better their rating.

The company has also developed a payment conduit which allows the rider and driver to exchange a frictionless and cashless payment at the onset of the ride so that they don’t have to haggle about price at the end.. It’s also safer for both the riders and the drivers to not have to carry cash.

Heyride is currently only available in Austin Texas which should be great for the tens of thousands converging on the city in March for SXSW.  They do plan on expanding outside of Austin eventually.


Check out Heyride here

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Replace Your Next Events Sign In Sheet With Dallas Startup SimpeSign.In, Dallas startup,startup interviewA brother and sister founding team have come up with a new Dallas based startup,, that will replace the sign in sheet for your next event. We know that eventbrite has event management tools like sign in sheets, however allows groups and event organizers that don’t need everything else that comes with eventbrite to have an equally as easy to use sign in system.

Once on site, event attendees can use their smartphones to sign in to your event. Once they’re signed into the event they are “logged in” to the event. You can use this “login” to hold votes during your meeting and solicit instant feedback through the course of your event.

Professional and civic organizations, universities, clubs, churches, conferences and businesses can all benefit from the ease of use of has baked in features of much larger event software into something that can be used and planned for well in advance or set up on the fly.

Users hosting an event just log into and from their they can create an event in under a minute. An event host can set up how much info they want to capture at sign in including name, phone number, address, email address and other fields. When attendees arrive they’ll either scan the events QR code or insert the events password and then they’ll be logged into the event.

After everyone has signed in the event organizer will be emailed a .csv spreadsheet file that has all of the information they requested when they set up the event.

When event hosts use for the registration process ahead of the event the organizers can use the spreadsheet to create email lists, name badges and other important documents that go along with an event.

Nate Bleker and his older sister Anna Bleker are the founding team behind Nate is handling the technical aspects while the design is being handled by Anna.

We got a chance to talk with Nate about, check out the interview below.

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Austin Startup: SocialGood.TV May Save Al Gore’s “Current” TV Network

Tennessee native, former Vice President and founder of the internet (lol) Al Gore, got into the tv business with long time friend and notorious tv ad lawyer Joel Hyatt, who was well known for his tv slogan “I’m Joel Hyatt and you have my word on it”. In 2005 they launched “Current TV” a left leaning tv network.

After his failed bid in the 2000 Presidential election Gore, wanted to go into the TV business. The idea was to launch a conventional tv news network to combat the likes of right leaning Fox news. Some feel that CNN already had it’s feet firmly planted in that position, which is why Current never really took off.

Today we learned that Austin startup SocialGood.TV may be buying the national cable network and moving it’s operations to Austin.  The Austin Business Journal is reporting that in addition to the move, SocialGood.TV may be looking to move the networks programming more into the middle of the road.

Stephen Vogelpohl, co-founder and CEO of SocialGood.TV has been tight lipped about what the startup is working on exactly, however it’s been learned that they have a few employees who are developing a video engagement platform for social causes.

Current currently offers programming from disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, ex-Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and “The Views” with Joy Behar. The network is beamed into 71 million homes with  about 60 million of those being in the United States. In the grand scheme of things those are relatively low numbers for a cable network.

Vogelpohl told the Austin Statesman that if SocialGood.TV was successful in the bid they would move programming to causes “outside of legistlation” adding:

“Making communities stronger isn’t a left or a right issue,” he said. “We’d want the programming to be more inclusive, educating through entertaining.”

Vogelpohl’s stake holders are to meet next month in Austin to discuss the deal further.


Here’s a link to

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Dallas Startup: VIPOrbit Named Number 1 By i.Business Magazine, To Be Featured At CES

VIPorbit,Dallas startup,Mike Muhney,startup,startups,startup news, CES 2013We first reported on Dallas startup VIPorbit back in June as part of our Chicago Tech Week coverage.  VIPorbit is a robust relationship management system for iOS devices founded by ACT co-founder Mike Muhney. ACT is the original Customer Relationship Management software, that paved the way for companies like SalesForce.

VIPorbit users organize their entire contact list into orbits, and can add as much or as little relationship management information to each contacts record. Track every conversation, email, activity and more across contacts and orbits. VIPorbit is by far the best mobile CRM solution we’ve tested and we’ve used it consistently since June.

The folks at i.Business magazine must agree as VIPorbit has beat out such widely known enterprise mobile apps as FileMaker Go, Quick Office Pro, DropBox and Evernote to claim the number one spot in the magazine’s “Top 50 Business Apps”.  The online version of the latest issue has already hit digital news stands and the hard copy version will come out shortly and be given away free to the hundreds of thousands of attendees of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

“We are dedicated to providing the most robust relationship management experience available on the iPhone and iPad—not just another useful app but full-featured relationship management software that empowers users to build relationships and grow their businesses,” said Mike Muhney, VIPorbit CEO and co-founder. “VIPorbit gives users instant recall of all past, present, and future activities with those in their network, setting them apart from their competition.”

“We are excited to announce the Top 50 Business Apps Edition of i.Business Magazine, and to name VIPorbit as the number one app on the list. It gives professionals everything they need to stay on top business relationships, a mission-critical business activity. It manages contacts, schedules, tasks, Email, social feeds, and more—all in one easy-to-use app, available for both iPhone and iPad—two platforms widely used by businesspeople,” said Carmine De Santo, founder and publisher of i.Business Magazine

Muhney is a serious influencer in the CRM and mobile CRM business. He also penned this guest post for us here at


Check out VIPorbit here

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TECH Fort Worth Startup Ampcare Gets FDA 510K Approval For Technology To Improve Swallowing

Russ Campbell, President & CEO of Fort Worth startup Ampcare

Last month we brought you a story about Memphis startup Handminder and what they are doing for stroke victims. Handminder has a technology that re-teaches the brain to interact with the hands of stroke victims so they can relearn motor skills. Handminder was part of Memphis’ Zeroto510 accelerator that prepares medical device companies for their 510K FDA approval.

Last week it was announced that TECH ForthWorth startup Ampcare just received their 510K approval from the FDA for their technology that also helps stroke victims.

Ampcare’s Rx3E series of electrodes applies external stimulation to the muscles needed for swallowing. This is also a technology that directly impacts the lives of stroke victims, and those suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALD (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Muscular Dystrophy.

Russ Campbell, Rick McAdoo and Ronda Polansky, the three therapists that founded Ampcare, envisioned the device as a treatment option to treat swallowing problems.

“At Ampcare, we understand that eating and drinking affect quality of life. This product will offer healthcare professionals, specifically speech language pathologists, a technologically advanced treatment approach to address swallowing difficulties,” said Russ Campbell, President & CEO.

Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing, affects 18 million people in the U.S. Without proper management, dysphagia can lead to choking, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, muscle attrition, aspiration pneumonia, increased rate of infection and death.

“For example, people with strokes often lose their ability to protect their airway when eating and drinking,” McAdoo said. “Our device rehabilitates the muscles that move the airway to keep it protected during swallowing.”

Ampcare’s technology is just as important for comfort as it is for patient safety.

Ampcare is a startup resident at the TECH Fort Worth Incubator in Texas.

“Since May, when Ampcare won our Impact Award, the team has been pressing hard for this next milestone, the clearance of its product for the market,” said Darlene Ryan, Executive Director of TECH Fort Worth. “The Ampcare founders have their heart in this product. Their motivation is the patients who will have a higher quality of life because of their work. It is clients like this that inspire me to do everything I can to help them and others continue to bring new products to market that really matter.”


Check out Ampcare here

TECH Fort Worth here

Everywhereelse Here To Serve As Directory & Hub For Texas Startups


Colleen Brady, a Texas entrepreneur is on a mission. The mission she’s chosen is one she plans to launch without immediate plans for a profit.

Brady has started, a site she hopes will serve as a directory of Texas startups and eventually a centralized hub for Texas startup information. looks to be the for the state of Texas. This is no east feat as Texas is both the second largest state in the country and the second most populated state in the country.

Texas also has multiple “startup communities”. Dallas, Houston, and Austin serve as major hubs of innovation. Austin also plays hole to south by southwest, the annual festival in March that serves as the launching ground for startups all over the country.

Brady admits that there are several startup and entrepreneurial resources throughout the state, but none quite like this.

“It’s something I thought was missing, so I decided to go ahead and put it together,” Brady said to the Austin Business Journal

Brady continued:

“Talking with startups here [in Texas], I found there were great resources, but something was missing. I wasn’t finding a good place to do research on [local] startups”

Molly Ryan, a reporter for the Austin Business Journal, validated the need for

” have looked, but I have yet to come up with an online list of local startups either. Sure, there are networking groups, incubators and online forums — but not a single site where I can find a clean-cut list of when startups were founded, where they are located, etc.” Ryan said.

Brady plans on officially launching next month. She already has 40 startups in Texas that have submitted information.


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Houston Startup: Sports Tradex, The Fantasy Stock Exchange For Sports INTERVIEW

SportsTradex, Houston startup,Texas startup,startup,startups,startup interview,founder interview, HSXFor those of you old enough to remember, back before 9/11 Cantor Fitzgerald was the outfit behind a virtual stock exchange called HSX. HSX stood for Hollywood Stock Exchange and it was one of the first virtual stock exchanges that allowed users to buy and sell celebrities, movies and movie options. Unfortunately after 9/11 and the loss that Cantor Fitzgerald had in the tragedy, HSX faded. It was revived for a short time but not the same way.

Houston Startup Sports Tradex has revived the model except instead of Hollywood it’s all about sports. Sports Tradex gets to the core of the fantasy sports lover with a financial background. It’s the ultimate place to go if you like to armchair quarterback sports and the stock market.

Sports Tradex really heats up when it’s game time. The market stays open throughout a sporting event so traders can trade in real time.

Sports Tradex is the brain child of co-founders Ben Lipson and Omri Buzi, both entrepreneurs. Lipson’s first entrepreneurial experience was actually a root beer company while Buzi has a more traditional background in web development.

We got a chance to talk with Lipson in the interview below:

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Houston Startup Demo Day November 7 2012

UPDATE: This event was moved to November 7, 2012 because of election day.

If you’re a Houston area startup and you’re looking to pitch to a room full of your peers than take note. November 6th 2012, is holding a demo day for up to 15 startups.

Houston startups should prepare a pitch highlighting:

-Product Explanation & Demo
-Growth Strategy
-How you will monetize your product or service
-Explain if you are bootstrapping or seeking funding

Each interested startup should put together a three minute pitch, complete with deck and should also be prepared for up to two minutes of mentor feedback and then a group 30 minute Q&A with those in the audience.

This event, being held at 1179 Delano Street, in Houston at 6:00pm on November 6th will be a great place for startups to practice delivering their pitch to investors and groups. If you’re a startup interested in pitching you should reach out to to be considered.

If you’re an angel investor,vc, startup enthusiast or media you should head here to pick up your ticket, they’re sure to go fast.

After the startup presentations, there will be time for networking with the startups and others in attendance. This is not a monetary pitch contest, but you never know who will be in the audience.


Here’s Houston Demo Day on

Here’s the Houston Demo Day Facebook page

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Houston Startup: GoodDeedsGlobal Hopes To Make A Difference

Self proclaimed “Modern Day Renaissance Man” and entrepreneur Corey S. Davis of Las Vegas has teamed up with co-founder Ken Melancon of Houston Texas to create a new social startup called GoodDeedsGlobal network. GoodDeedsGlobal is a cause driven social business that intends to help put money in the hands of those that need “good deeds”.

GoodDeedsGlobal has a request a good deed page which is designed for those with needs to contact the organization. It’s unclear as to what specifically constitutes a need but the site says it can be anything. So if you’re in need, go for it here.

Davis gave us this example of how the platform is designed to work:

“Maybe someone like a single mom who is really struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford to pay all the bills on a particular month, plus on top of that feed and take care of the kids and everything else. If she wrote into our site asking for something like $150 to maybe $300 dollars to help make it through the month and pay a few bills (maybe help to keep the lights on or something like that). Then what we would do is contact her back as soon as possible and verify her situation as best we can, and then simply help her out by fulfilling that request (essentially sending a money order for her to pick up in her local area and/or city)”

Davis says that the GoodDeedsGlobal network is designed to touch one person at a time and is a change agent to promote doing good deeds for each other. He is hopeful that people will use the GoodDeedsGlobal platform to “pay it forward”.

Davis equates it to the “Make A Wish Foundation” for people that are over 17 and not going through the hardship of a life threatening illness.

Perhaps our interview with Davis, below, will provide my clarity.

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Dallas Area Gets New Angel Network In TECH Fort Worth’s CowTown Angels

TECH Fort Worth, an early stage business incubator and huge start up resource in Fort Worth Texas has just announced the formation of CowTown Angels.

The new angel network consists of angel investors from across the region. Angel investors are those who invest in startups in exchange for stock in the company. It’s a high risk investment for some and in order to be an accredited investor the “angel” typically has a net worth of $1 million dollars outside of their residence.

The Dallas Fort Worth area (DFW) is crawling with millionaires who’ve made money in oil, traditional industry and tech. Angel networks are cropping up across the country with the fundamental goal of injecting startups with the early stage capital they need to bring their products to market. The hope is that these startups will generate a return on the investment and grow to bring new jobs and  money into the area.

TECH Fort Worth will take the applications and vet startups ahead of monthly scheduled pitch meetings. From their the angels discuss the opportunities presented and then they can invest in them individually, in groups or together depending on the need and fit of the business.

“We know angel investors in our community, and we meet lots of companies who need startup capital,” said Darlene Ryan, Executive Director of TECH Fort Worth. “By providing an organized and efficient way for them to meet each other and discuss business, we hope to help more of these companies establish strong roots here, grow here and create jobs here.”

“It’s a natural extension of what TECH Fort Worth does for the local technology business community,” said Brent Sorrells, the incubator’s Director of Programs. “In our other programs, we coach and mentor entrepreneurs building companies based on technologies such as medical devices, data and energy, and we help them prepare their presentations to put their best foot forward. We’re excited to be able to offer this new program to connect the angel investors and entrepreneurs. It’s all about creating more jobs and wealth in our community.”


Check out TECH Fort Worth here

Check out CowTown Angels here

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Texas Startup Competition Is Back Fort Worth Business Assistance Center Annonuces

A popular Forth Worth area business plan competition is back for it’s second year. The Fort Worth Business Assistance Center announced today that founding sponsors Capital One Bank, The Alternative Board and Sales Mastery Consultants (Sandler Training) have teamed up to put on the contest which has over $40,000 in cash and business services prizes.

The competition is open to all BAC clients and Tarrant County businesses and startups. After the initial application process (going on now through September 19th), 25 teams will be selected as the competitors in the event. These 25 companies will receive 8 hours in professional training, valued at $1,000. this includes two 3-hour training sessions with valuable information from Accion (Cash Flow), Texas Christian University’s Center for Professional Communication (Effective Presentations), Whitley Penn (The Importance of Financials), and a panel discussion from business leaders on effective marketing and sales. The preliminary round will also include a minimum of two hours of one-on-one business counseling with counselors from the BAC and competition partners the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Enterprise Excellence, SCORE of Fort Worth, and Tarrant SBDC.

After the preliminary round the three strongest business plans will be selected as finalists and will advance to the final round. The final competition will be combines with an awards ceremony which will be held November 15th at the Texas Christian University.

The winners of the 2011 competition were Ikerd Consulting, Positive Influences and Cleves Research and their Cluso product.

If you’re in the Fort Worth area (Tarrant County) now’s the time to apply at the link below.


Apply here

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Interview With Houston Startup: TheSquareFoot A Resource For Other Startups

You know here at, the voice of startups “everywhere else” we love writing about startups. What we love even more is when we can write about startups who in some way or another, are a resource for other startups. Such is the case with Houston startup TheSquareFoot.

Now on the surface you may think that TheSquareFoot is just another commercial leasing site, but it’s ten times more than that. When your startup grows out of that co-working space, incubator, or graduates from that accelerator, the last place you want to move is back into your parents basement. Truth be told, unless you undergo a major round of financing (and hopefully you will) companies like CBRE may be useless to you. Only a company the size of AirBnB needs 8 bajillion square feet. Having owned a medium to small sized business I know that large commercial realtors don’t take the time to talk to small businesses. The problem is there is plenty of small business real estate available for rent in just about everytown USA.

That’s where comes in handy.

TheSquareFoot is a startup themselves. They recently had a brainstorming session with Startup America Partnership CEO Scott

TheSquareFoot Team (photo: Startup America Partnership)

Case, we know how those sessions go and in that time with Case the team at TheSuareFoot was able to work on their value offering. They told the Startup America Partnership: “Our meeting with Scott Case at DEMO was extremely helpful in crystallizing our value offering. In addition, the Startup America network has been great as well as the webinars.”

Being that they are a startup themselves they built TheSquareFoot with all kinds of possible tenant scenarios in mind, from a company looking for huge warehouse space, to a team of two looking for 300 square feet. You can find that all at

Once you’ve found the perfect spot on the site then TheSquareFoot hooks you up with the resources that you need to actually move in and start using your new space.

We got a chance to talk with Aron Susman, co-founder of TheSquareFoot in the interview below:

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Chuck Gordon & Mario Feghali Storage Warriors With Austin Startup SpareFoot

Chuck Gordon (L) Has recently lost the Justin Bieber-esque mop top (photo:

When you think about tech startup and storage nine times out of ten you think about cloud storage, or flash storage, RAM, DDR and any number of things. Well Austin Texas startup SpareFoot is about real storage.

Think Uncle Fred’s Storage on the side of route 40 or Grandma’s Attic storage facility tucked away behind the rest stop. Those storage facilities, the ones featured on Storage Wars, are what SpareFoot is all about.

It’s understandable at this day and age you don’t have time to go up and down the highway trying to find the best deal for your extra things. That’s why SpareFoot allows you to go to one website, figure out where you want to store your stuff, how much stuff you want to store and how long you want to store it for. After you input a little data the magical SpareFoot platform comes to life and serves up suggestions for the best self storage facility and option for you.

Two UCLA implants into Austin; Chuck Gordon and Mario Freghali are the brain power behind this startup that is firmly entrenched in the $22 billion dollar storage industry.

SpareFoot is an alumnus of the Capital Factory accelerator and is funded to the beat of $4.5 million, not too shabby, or as Dave on Storage Wars would say “yuuupppppp”.  We got a chance to talk to the SpareFoot team in the interview below.

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DreamIt Ventures Expands South To Austin Texas


DreamIt Ventures, the Philadelphia based accelerator, that was recently ranked one of the top the incubators in the country by Forbes magazine, has announced that they’re expanding into Austin Texas.

DreamIt is Philadelphia based, which is where they set up their initial accelerator program. They then expanded to New York City. Last year they also opened up shop in Israel with a program that currently feeds into New York but could feed into their Philadelphia program next year.

Kerry Rupp, a Philadelphia transplant from Austin Texas was overseeing the DreamIt program in Philadelphia. They recently announced the appointment of Karen Griffith Gryga as national director based in Philadelphian which frees Rupp up to return to Austin and launch their Austin program.

Austin is a great place to expand for DreamIt. There is a lot of innovation happening in Austin and the other DreamIt locations will be able to leverage their Austin based program to show off other DreamIt startup graduates at South By Southwest Interactive next year.

“We’ll be able to use it to showcase all of the other DreamIt companies that are out fundraising” when SXSW is held, Rupp said to the Austin Business Journal

As of April 2012 65 companies have successfully gone through the DreamIt program. DreamIt also has a program targeted towards minorities called DreamIt Access, that first class has 15 startup participants.

DreamIt Ventures New York program finishes with a Demo Day on August 8th. Philadelphia’s program kicks off the weekend of September 6th and 7th. The Philadelphia class will hold Demo Day December 5th. Austin’s program will start on December 14th which times the ending right up against SXSWi 2013.


Check out DreamIt Ventures here

Source: Austin Business Journal

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